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Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2012 Sep;21(9):1323-50. doi: 10.1517/13543784.2012.704020. Epub 2012 Jul 27.

Targeting memory processes with drugs to prevent or cure PTSD.

Author information

1
New York University, New York, NY, USA.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a chronic debilitating psychiatric disorder resulting from exposure to a severe traumatic stressor and an area of great unmet medical need. Advances in pharmacological treatments beyond the currently approved SSRIs are needed.

AREAS COVERED:

Background on PTSD, as well as the neurobiology of stress responding and fear conditioning, is provided. Clinical and preclinical data for investigational agents with diverse pharmacological mechanisms are summarized.

EXPERT OPINION:

Advances in the understanding of stress biology and mechanisms of fear conditioning plasticity provide a rationale for treatment approaches that may reduce hyperarousal and dysfunctional aversive memories in PTSD. One challenge is to determine if these components are independent or reflect a common underlying neurobiological alteration. Numerous agents reviewed have potential for reducing PTSD core symptoms or targeted symptoms in chronic PTSD. Promising early data support drug approaches that seek to disrupt dysfunctional aversive memories by interfering with consolidation soon after trauma exposure, or in chronic PTSD, by blocking reconsolidation and/or enhancing extinction. Challenges remain for achieving selectivity when attempting to alter aversive memories. Targeting the underlying traumatic memory with a combination of pharmacological therapies applied with appropriate chronicity, and in combination with psychotherapy, is expected to substantially improve PTSD treatment.

PMID:
22834476
PMCID:
PMC4547388
DOI:
10.1517/13543784.2012.704020
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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